KIWI BAND SOLA ROSA’S NEW SINGLE, ‘SO FLY’ – FEATURING KEVIN MARK TRAIL

With seven full-length Sola Rosa albums, three EPs, a handful of hits, countless collaborations and numerous world tours, it’s been a near 20-year labour of love for the man behind the music, Andrew Spraggon.
And although it’s punctuated with twists and turns in the form of constant change and innovation, one thing has remained the same – Spraggon’s steadfast commitment to making great albums that seamlessly blend a myriad of genres, from hip-hop and jazz, to neo-soul, latin and funk.
Now, the Auckland-based music-maker is poised to unveil the next steps in the Sola Rosa journey. It begins with the stonking beat-heavy track, ‘So Fly’ featuring British singer Kevin Mark Trail, who rose to prominence in the early 2000s working with The Streets.
The song, which Spraggon describes as having an “angular analog feel”, sits perfectly alongside the vibrant and eclectic Sola Rosa sound that fans have come to know and love. And yet, it pushes further into new musical territory. “The overall feel is an unusual one for me as a producer, but I wanted to make it have a retro kind of vibe. It’s pretty much a synth-laden production and heavy on the beats,” he says.
Written by Spraggon and Sola Rosa’s one-time guitarist Ben White, with additional keys later added by Michal Martyniuk, the track was originally created for the 2014 album Magnetics but it wasn’t finished. Trail then heard it over the 2015/2016 summer and wrote and recorded the vocals in one day.
Adding to the magic of ‘So Fly’ is the expert touch of Andy ‘Submariner’ Morton at Creative Orchard, known for his production and mix skills with the likes of Kiwi music icons like Fat Freddy’s Drop, Mark de Clive Lowe and Nathan Haines. And last but not least, mastering by Kelly Hibbert at Almachrome in Los Angeles, who’s worked with a lengthy list of who’s who in music, from Aloe Blacc, to J Dilla, Flying Lotus, Dam Funk and more.
It all makes for a kick-ass track that demands volume and is not only a sure-fire festival anthem but the kind of tune that has just what it takes to pack dancefloors across the globe.

Get ‘So Fly’ now – iTunes  / Google Play
Follow Sola Rosa on Spotify: http://radi.al/SolaRosaSpotify
Follow Sola Rosa on Apple Music: http://radi.al/SolaRosaAppleMusic

 

 

Bad Moms – Movie Review Jarred Tito "Laughs are worth it" 3/5

via Bigscreen NZ

ghostbusters

A fun movie with quite a few home truths for the zealot ‘soccer’ mums of the world. Sure the movie plot line is semi-predictable and loaded with an ample amount of shock lines, especially from actressKathryn Hahn who plays ‘Carla’ a socially challenged misfit, but it is still funny and has plenty to say about the ‘modern’ women and their place in society.

Firstly, it is a story about three women breaking the rules and social expectations. Secondly it’s an empowering motivational story of three women rising up in the cold hard face of adversity. And lastly, it’s a good laugh which pokes fun at everything ‘holy’ regarding parenthood in the modern PC world.

Carla teams up with Kiki (Christina Bel) to promote Amy Mitchell (Mila Kunis) as the new model and standard for the P.T.A. Amy Mitchell has had enough of the ‘system’ and is pushed to the limit by Gwendolyn, the president of the PTA, played by Christina Applegate, which leads to her making a stand against everything sweet, charming and expected of mothers with school children.

Bad Moms, the title says it all and can easily fit in with other movies of this nature with similar titles such as; ‘Bad Santa’ and ‘Dirty Grand-pa’. Initially each movie hits you right between the eyes with shocking language and lewd behaviour but then slowly brings you around with a deeper, enlightening truths which seem to justify the beginning. (A pattern for a lot of American comedies of late.)

Aside from all of that, Bad Moms, has some genuine funny moments. Carla, played by Kathryn Hahn, most definitely has the lion’s share of one liners and so dominated the comical aspect of the film. Hahn’s comic timing is perfect.

Although the films receiving a bit of flack over the ‘One Finger Salute’ portrayed in the promotional posters as well as stirring up a bit trouble with the real soccer mom fraternity, the movie as a complete work is quite positive and should not be so easily written off.

An excellent cast and story full of laughs and home truths, even if they are exaggerated just a bit, that I have already recommended to more than a few. Yes there is quite a bit of material that will cause some offence but not enough to keep you away. Personally I think the laughs are worth it and the pathos delivers at the end.

 

Hippolytus Veiled – Theatre Review Shawn Moodie

Reimagining Hippolytus Veiled, Euripides’ challenging Greek Tragedy about a woman who pursed her desires relentlessly, was not always easy for award-winning Kiwi playwright Nathan Joe.

While Hippolytus is well-known and has been adapted countless times, Hippolytus Veiled – an earlier version of the play – was lost with only fragments remaining.

This is Greek Tragedy at its best – presenting audiences with a script which is as poetic as it is provocative. It’s a challenging and often claustrophobic 90 minutes which is driven by complex characters who spend as much time battling their inner demons as they do each other, and allows audiences to engage in an emotional catharsis while watching these morally reprehensible figures explore the extremities of love, lust, morality, and sexual politics.

The play begins in Athens where we find Queen Phaedra (Fiona Mogridge), a woman who has been left alone and abandoned for many years by her husband, King Theseus (Geoff Allen).

Overcome with a fever and largely bedridden, Phaedra is stirred into action after falling madly and desperately in love with her stepson, the haughty and misogynistic Hippolytus (Paul Trimmer) – tragedy is inevitable.

Nathan Joe has certainly pulled off quite a feat in delivering us his reinterpretation of this play. The playwright refused to blink in the face of his challenging subject matter and resisted the urge to water it down to appease theatre-goers. I certainly appreciated his efforts to ensure a balance between maintaining the poeticism of the original play, with the need to deliver a script that was relevant and accessible.

While some adaptions of Greek theatre have chosen to view their subject matter through a modern – and often critical – lens, Joe succeeds by refusing to blame or shame his admittedly reprehensible characters (or their actions) through his reinterpretation.

Instead, his beautifully rendered script presents its characters for what they are – flawed, calculating, and often selfish human beings whose actions are influenced by the eternal conflict between primal urges and shame.

The actors, under the skilled direction of Patrick Graham, seemed to relish the plays salacious material and complex characters. While the cast worked wonderfully as a whole, Fiona Mogridge is the standout as Phaedra, a woman haunted by unfulfilled desires and an all-consuming lust. Mogridge is no one-note performer and instead effortlessly captured the full spectrum of Phaedra’s madness, longing, and frustration – all while imbuing the character with a regal air befitting someone of her status.

Likewise, Jacqui Whall was great as the scene-stealing nurse, shifting between sensitivity and calculating malice with ease. Whall’s interplay with Paul Trimmer’s Hippolytus was a joy to watch, elevating an already excellent script.

For his part, Paul Trimmer was excellently cast as Hippolytus, the subject of Phaedra’s affections. Hippolytus is a difficult character to warm up to – he’s misogynistic, conceited, and at times petulant. However, through Trimmer’s inviting performance (which also doesn’t shy away from embracing Hippolytus’ more ugly traits), he was also a character who could the audience could empathize with, pity, and understand (in between reviling). Hippolytus arguably underdoes the most intense emotional journey throughout the 90 minutes – he’s a character whose moral compass is assaulted at every turn, and Trimmer handles this challenging task with aplomb.

Geoff Allen’s turn as the vain and crude King Theseus was a welcome one – he made some bold choices in his depiction of a man torn between the shocking claims of his wife and sharp objections of his son. Allen’s performance was commanding and self-assured, while still being impressively nuanced and measured – a perfect illustration of what a skilled actor can do with a well-written character.

Closing out the cast was Mark Oughton’s servant. Though his appearance was confined to the closing scenes of the play, his plea to the King for justice for his master Hippolytus was both passionate and captivating and made my hair stand on end.

I must also reserve some praise for Rose Mulcare’s eye-catching set, which saw the actors perform in the narrow corridor of the Basement Theatre’s upper floor, flanked by an audience on either side. The set which was awash with stark whites, dark reds, and shimmering gold, and perfectly complimented Zach Howell’s lighting design.

Hippolytus Veiled is a play which has a lot going for it. The production manages to present the essential elements of Greek tragedy in a manner which is fresh and accessible for modern audiences. It’s sharply-written and well-acted, and presents audiences with an unapologetic exploration of the lengths that people will go to, to fulfil their darkest desires, all the while exposing the eternal and primal struggle conflict between shame and lust. At its most basic, Hippolytus Veiled offers audiences something special – an opportunity to watch bad people do bad things so that you don’t have to.

 

War Dogs – Movie Review Yulia Podrul "super americanised" 3.5/5

war dogs

Have you ever felt stuck? I mean like not stuck in traffic or in a queue. Stuck in your life? Then you think… ‘Am I wasting my life?’

This is exactly the scenario in the new War Dogs film. The story revolves around the boys Jonah Hill (Efraim Diveroli) & Miles Teller (David Packouz), one starts thinking how useless he is in the world, then out of nowhere he gets a call from the past and meets his mate from high school who makes a fortune on gun trading.

Hey bad boy, how about some gun trading business? Now you start seeing dollar signs everywhere. You are just about to become a millionaire at no time! Penthouse in Miami, expensive cars etc. Hell yes! Why would you say ‘no’ to this? All you have to do is to drive through a ‘triangle of death’ to deliver some armour to a Captain of an American Army in Iraq.

Be prepared to step way outside your comfort zone and take risks, lots of risks! Before I went to see that film, I expected it to be super americanised, and it was, very much so. Based on a true story, it reveals all sides and hidden angles of black market in gun trading industry. War is the business. Remember that guys. It’s always been about the business that involves guns, black market, black money, cruelty and endless amount of lives.

I was curious to see how director Todd Phillips would manage to combine humour with reality of War. He did well by involving Johan Hill who was successful in his ‘war’ trading business. He payed his well-deserved price at the end. His ambitions and desire to earn fast to get rich took him a little too far. Little did he know, this was the end of his ‘gun empire’. Miles Teller (David Packouz) was that young man who lost himself, and who was ‘lucky’ to reunite with his ‘armour’ savvy. He definitely gained excessive amount of knowledge about guns and War, but he didn’t realise that this knowledge could put him behind bars.

Phillips showed us how things can end up sooner than you expect whether you are gun traders or the Wolf of Wall Street. I found the young actors handled that game professionally, but not as professional as Leo from The Wolf of Wall Street, who showed us some real game. Think twice or three, or even four times if you really want to give up on your massage skills.

Be smart, earn smart and watch out for those you can’t easily trust, because you can’t trust anybody when it comes to big dollar games. I give it a well-deserved 3.5/5

 

Our Kind Of Traitor – Movie Review Jarred Tito 4/5 "Well worth seeing"

OKOT

‘Our Kind of Traitor’ was an enjoyable suspense /thriller. I enjoyed the pace of the film as it slowly revealed the plot. I always enjoy a good spy movie or espionage tale. I would certainly put this movie in the same category as ‘Tinker Tailor Sailor Spy’ and ‘The French Connection’. Films that entertain not simply through action alone but with a developing plot. 

The acting was good and the characters were enjoyable. The director took to develop the characters, both the good guys and the bad guys, which added more weight to the story. There wasn’t as much action as has been seen in much of the spy dramas of late but when there was it was always believable which added authenticity to the movie which I really enjoyed.

My overall opinion about the film was that it was good one and well worth seeing. If I was to give it a comparison I would say it was somewhere between the Godfather 1 and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. 4/5 stars.

Maala – Maaking Music – Interview Wal Reid

 maala

Musician Maala is upbeat about his new album Composure as I meet him remarking “This is the second time we’ve met.” The first time was at Hum Salon in Grafton where I first met him playing as Evan Sinton, sitting at the piano in the worn-out Victorian homestead that’s converted into a community drop in. “The album kind of lends itself to that electronic world, it’s my voice that’s the live element “ he muses as we pick up the conversation.

The 20-year-old Sony-signed artist has already had high-profile attention, with his single In the Air praised by Kiwi radio DJ Zane Lowe on his new Apple platform Beats 1, the album has been an embodiment of his influences that has shaped his album Composure since launching his E.P. last year.

“We recorded 10 songs last August” he says. “The couple of months where it slowed down a bit was from writing, so I hadn’t really built any content going into the studio. It was really from scratch which was quite fun. I like the concise part of it you know? Rather than these Drake albums that are 18 tracks or James Blake doing the same thing, I think it’s more a statement if you can refine the tone to that many”.

Maala seems to have thought about the path he’s about to embark on with his new album having successfully played in Wellington & Auckland this week to a new audience he’s reaching out to. Growing up in a ‘not-so musical family’, he’s a thinking musician who admits to being more a ‘collaborator’ striving to attain his best. It’s no wonder his musical influences attest to his electronic/ambient pop sound.

“The album’s gone through a couple of motions” he says. “6 months of listening to the same sort of thing terrifying me. I’ve been really digging organic kind of projects like Young Fathers, Yeezus that album specifically just like these really raw qualities but are an electric kind of world, I then gravitated and fell in love with One Direction and Rhianna and all of these big pop shiny projects, and now that it’s finally out, I’m seeing those influences even more.”

He’s not shy of saying what he wants and knows exactly what he needs to do and how to get it, as he explains.

“There’s nothing organic on the project other than the vocal, it’s all keyed in.” he confesses. “That pop element, I really enjoyed being meticulous about it and making a really polished product – I’m a singer songwriter and a keyboardist and I use to dabble in guitar”.

We talk about his showcase events, mini shows to try and entice record execs and industry insiders, he admits playing his music to strangers “Special, it’s very special.”

“I did shows in London, Leeds, LA and New York” he says. “Putting my name out there and exploring what’s available there, its small time. I’m playing small shows and playing to people who have never heard my music before – actually some of those shows people would be actually singing back – it’s so funny that the internet can transcend that barrier a bit”.

Last year’s songs Touch and In the Air already now grace the airwaves of New Zealand’s alternative, dance and pop radio stations. Already there is overseas interest in the young Kiwi, the usual trajectory path that awaits most Kiwi musicians is to go to Australia then springboard to the rest of the world – well, that is if you’re mainstream, however the young musician is adamant where he is going.

“It’s the internet now right? It’s global within Auckland already you know? He says. “For me, what’s going to take it overseas is physically removing myself not permanent, but just touring that’s my mind-set. I’m a big fan of the live aspect so I want to slam that home as much as I can.”

“I’m feeling very energetic, creative. I really want to get onto album number two already.”

Lennon: Through a Glass Onion – Review Wal Reid Civic Theatre 10/08/2016 "Unpretentious & clever"

lennon glass

Love him or loathe him, singer/songwriter John Lennon has penned some of the most recognisable hit songs with the Beatles and as a solo artist before his untimely murder. Unlikely choice, Australian actor/singer John Waters’ breathes life into this biopic musical, his voice a fitting ode to Lennon in this unpretentious two hander show that is every bit clever as it is entertaining.

Waters (TV show Offspring) takes to the stage with accompanist Bill Risby (Leo Sayer, The Supremes) on piano to perform the show that is part spoken word, part concert. Waters has no trouble assuming the mantle of Lennon and has had over twenty years perfecting the Liverpudlian’s accent as he takes the audience on a trip down memory lane.

Bill Risby is fantastic on the piano, providing tight harmonies and the odd narrative, his contribution alongside Waters’ engaging monologue is invaluable as the pair play and sing their way through some of Lennon’s greatest songs including Woman, Jealous Guy, and Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. I was blown away by how many great songs he had written, a testament to Lennon’s musical genius.

I enjoyed the show, its simplicity in portraying one of this generations greatest musical poets nicely unfolds onstage. Water’s uncanny ability to channel Lennon’s persona is well executed, I loved the way Waters filled in the blanks as if it were Lennon himself commentating.

Nothing is left to shy even racism taunts at Yoko, The FBI surveillance in America, the “communal wank” as a young man growing up on the mean streets of Liverpool and of course those fatal gunshots on December the 8th 1980.

The show is in two parts which some may find a little distracting, however the audience is treated with an entertaining 90 minutes of entertainment that will leave you pondering the question “What if he were still alive today?”.

Leilani Review Mahuika Theatre Company – Q Theatre 4/08/16 "impressively diverse, beautifully rendered, and layered"

Words Shawn Moodie

Leilani Shawn

The atmosphere was electric as Pedro Ilgenfritz walked on to the stage to herald in the world premiere of emergent theatre company Mahiuka’s debut production – Leilani.

Inspired by Italian Commedia Dell’Arte, a type of theatre that emerged out of the 16th century and sees masks utilised, director Ilgenfritz and his cast (the immensely talented trio of Irasa Siave, Natasha Daniel and Aymee Karaitiana-Jones), created a comedic melodrama that explores Auckland’s homelessness issue and asks audiences to take a long hard look at society.

However, the action began before the lights even went down at the Q Theatre, as the half-masked Leilani (Irasa Siave) and her oafish boyfriend Junior (Aymee Karaitiana-Jones) arrive late to their own story – nestling among the crowd at the back of the theatre. It’s a bold, and wonderfully meta, introduction to play that oozes originality and a certain relaxed Kiwi charm.

As the prologue gives way to the story proper, Siave, Daniel and Karaitiana-Jones introduce us to a wonderfully eclectic – and distinctly Kiwi – cast of characters to tell their story. The production used specially crafted masks, beautifully made by Kate Lang, that were refined over two years of extensive workshopping, character development, and sculpting to bring the characters to life.

These characters were well-formed, distinct, and layered – the sorts of people who you might expect to meet on a night out on Auckland’s K Rd or Queen Street. While this is a testament to the skill of director Pedro Ilgenfritz and his cast, credit must also go to revered Kiwi Playwright Gary Henderson, who joined the team as the Script Developer.

There’s the shows main protagonist, Leilani (Siave) a bright-eyed and naïve (and pregnant) young woman who is an adult in age rather than maturity. Leilani, like each of the characters, is a deeply flawed individual, and a decidedly passive protagonist to boot – often finding herself subjected to the will of others – especially her ‘cuzzy-bro’ boyfriend, Junior (Karaitiana-Jones), a self-serving oaf that kicks her out on the street after shacking up with the narcissistic glamour girl Aroha (Daniel). From there we are introduced to a wide arrange of characters as Leilani attempts to navigate the winter chill of Auckland’s streets.

There’s the cuckolded and ever eager-to-please Tim (Daniel), a sympathetic but spineless character than attempts to help Leilani but is thwarted by his domineering girlfriend Sarah (Karatainia-Jones); Trev (Daniel), the kindly, though somewhat mad, homeless philosopher and his friend the self-serving opportunist, Pahia (Karatainia-Jones); and sleazy Lloyd (Karatainia-Jones) a pig of a man whose actions are met with varying degrees of disgust throughout the proceedings.

These characters are impressively diverse, beautifully rendered, and layered – there is so much going to behind the masks. While each performer energetically imbued their complex characters with humanity and relatability, I was particularly impressed with Daniel’s take on Tim (bumbling and hilarious) and Trev (one of the few characters to offer any degree of empathy).

At 70 minutes, Leilani is a hilarious and well-acted expose of the Kiwi characters who inhabit the streets of downtown Auckland. It manages to challenge the audience while leaving them in stitches. I highly recommend it to theatre veterans and virgins alike.

Leilani runs from 4-13 August at Q Theatre loft.

Leilani:
Q Theatre Loft, 
Thu 4th – Sat 13th August 2016,
7.30pm
No shows Sunday and Monday
Tickets: $15-$28 (Booking fees may apply)
Tickets from www.qtheatre.co.nz

Leilani is presented as part of MATCHBOX, the Q Theatre creative development programme.

 

Suicide Squad – Review "Jared Leto & Margot Robbie made this film" 3.5/5

SS

There’s been a lot of hype around DC Comic’s Suicide Squad since the trailer was conveniently leaked at last year’s Comic Con in San Diego, but does the new David Ayer film deliver the goods? Does Jared Leto pull off the Joker? Well in my opinion yeah…just.

Yeah, of course it delivers on being a massive blockbuster of a movie that has more special effects than boy wizard Harry could muster and of course it stars the anticipated wait to see Jared Leto, his spooky white face and evil grimace as The Joker has been lauded all over the internet – he doesn’t disappoint either.

The film does well developing the characters in the storyline then gradually loses itself in the special effects melee ending up a little too clever for itself, the author of its own demise – well nearly. Will Smith is solid as elite hitman Deadshot, featuring more onscreen time than the green-haired one, he single handily steers the movie on course when it waned into Ghostbuster’s territory.

I found the Squad way more enjoyable to watch than Snyder’s Batman Vs Superman, it actually pulls off the comic strip feel pretty convincingly and Jared Leto for me is exceptional as Joker, adding a much needed darker edgier persona to the one of the world’s best baddies.

Yep even ‘Batfleck’ makes an appearance, it’s a movie riddled with a decent storyline with a cast that pulls off their DC comic alter egos, Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang is perfect in his distinctly Aussie twang while other Aussie Margot Robbie steals some of the best lines in the film.

Sometimes it’s not how good or bad a movie is, it’s all about the hype and Suicide Squad delivers on all accounts. Fans of the comic should be pleased with this outing but for me I wasn’t as enthused as the fan boys/girls but still had a great time. Personally, Jared Leto & Margot Robbie made this film, it’s a spectacle, go see it on the IMAX it will blow your mind.

 

NZ Entertainment Podcast Episode 60: Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman, Flight of the Conchords, Mahuika Theatre Company

nzep ep60

This episode Wal has the Mahuika  Theatre Company girls Irasa Siave, Natasha Daniel and Aymee Karaitiana in the studio. They talk to him before they perform the world premiere of their show Leilani, eight hand-crafted theatre masks brings  alive characters that inhabit a distinctly Kiwi world somewhere between reality and make-believe.  – plus all the usual chaos and mayhem.

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This episode hosted by Wal Reid & Jarred Tito,  Paul Spain is the executive producer. The NZ Entertainment Podcast is published by Global Voice Media – the home of NZ’s favourite podcasts.